Some officers in Michigan thought a new patrol car design would help them connect to their community.
The Bath Police Department posted a Facebook photo Saturday of a cop cruiser with the words, “POPO” painted on its door. Yes, “POPO.”
Why would this have been considered a marketable photo? Officers said they thought it would help them to reach local youth.
“We’ve found though, that we are still struggling to really reach the younger folk out there. So in an effort to bridge that gap, we’ve decided to update our patrol car graphics,” the police department wrote on Facebook.
The department later chalked up the post to a joke, which drew mixed responses. However, many folks said the picture was nothing funny. Responses from those who were offended ranged from saying the so-called “joke” was racially insensitive to recklessly racist.
“It’s not funny nor cute, it’s offensive,” wrote one user.
Whoever runs the department’s Facebook page responded to pretty much every commenter. However, the most important comments talked about police reform.
“Instead of throwing slang on your vehicles, how about being open to community review boards, nullifying useless drug laws, and ending your retarded blue lives matter campaign?,” one user wrote. “I bet that would go WAY farther in fostering a healthy and fruitful relationship with those you’re sworn to serve and protect.”
It’s important to note that Bath is a predominantly non-White community with more than 86 percent being White. Only two percent of the residents are African-American, according to City-Data. With winning ground with community members of color, some of the commenters had interesting ideas.
A few responders said that the officers should spend their time trying to connect to local youth in person, an idea that also has been proposed to many police departments across the nation. Will the Bath PD take note? Only time will tell.